Palm, palm, dirty, filthy rainforest destroying palm.
It’s no secret that in recent times palm oil has become the ‘pin-up boy’ of deforestation and climate change. In many ways the ‘Palm issue’ has supplanted the actual issue of deforestation and the impact it has on both the land and the animals that live there. Perhaps this is because, as Marvel will tell us, it’s better to have a single villain to point at, a simpler story line that is easier to follow, a focused place to channel our collective angst at the injustice and evil of things.
But whilst we acknowledge the destruction caused by deforestation and the part that the palm oil industry has in it, it would be either naive or dishonest of us to suggest that the whole story can be told here, or indeed that the solutions are cut and dried.
Before we go further a few facts are handy to have at hand;
- Palm oil represents 35% of the global vegetable oil crop
- Yet Palm only uses 10% of the land used for all vegetable oil crops.
- Alternatives to palm oil can use anywhere from 4 to 10 times the land required to produce the same amount of oil as Palm.
- 72% of all palm oil produced is used in the foods we eat.
None of which removes the damage done and the damage that continues to be done. Still today third world farmers are cutting down perfectly good rainforests in order to plant palm or other vegetable crops so they can feed their family and give them a life we in the west are all accustomed to.
But using alternatives to palm are not a solution in themselves and in fact as you can see above often the solutions are worse. We believe the most ethical way to work with the issue is to use as little palm as possible, reduce it from our formulations (but not replace it with less efficient and therefore more destructive substitutes). What little palm we do use, is registered RSPO (Roundtable on sustainable palm oil), meaning it’s from a sustainable and existing plantation with transparent practices and reporting. The RSPO is not perfect but it does require transparency from its farmers, who need to be able to show their source is existing and sustainable. There is a way to go to refine what they are doing, but we believe there is genuine commitment to finding a sustainable solution from the RSPO, we have decided to work with them and be part of the solution, rather than make some erroneous green washing claim that just kicks the proverbial tin down the road, but makes us look green today. We have chosen this route because we believe it’s the right one, like everything we do, we believe honesty and complete transparency is the only way to go.